Seat Alhambra

The Essentials

  • Price from £23,535
  • What Car? says: 5 star rating
  • Fuel economy: up to 50.4mpg
  • What is it? The Seat Alhambra is a huge MPV that's a practical and comfortable way to transport up to seven people

Great

  • Vast MPV has room for seven grown-ups
  • It's huge but still good to drive
  • Great value for money

Gripes

  • Not that easy to park
  • The rearmost seats don't fold away as quickly as some rivals'
  • No prizes for sexy design
  • Drive

    Keep it simple (and more economical) with the 138bhp diesel and you can't go wrong. Until you try and park it somewhere too tight...

  • Inside

    Great visibility and everything where you'd expect to find it

  • Safety

    Essentials include stability control, seven airbags and plenty of security kit to deter thieves. Extra thumbs up for the tyre pressure monitor

  • Reliability

    It's a VW group car so you can expect top quality materials and construction. However, Seat has been only an average performer in reliability surveys

  • Space

    Seven adults can stretch out in here and still have room for their kit. Alternatively you can fold the five rear seats for haulage duties

  • Standard and extras

    All models have alloy wheels, three-zone climate control to stop arguments and all-round parking sensors to help prevent dings

  • What's it like to drive?

    The Alhambra is a big car and you're well aware of that when you're negotiating tight car parks or narrow city streets, although the light low-speed steering certainly helps. On the open road, though, the Seat is far from cumbersome. The steering weights up nicely, it feels responsive and surprisingly agile, and sticks solidly to the Tarmac on the motorway. The ride is supple over most roads, too.
    The Alhambra is available with one petrol engine and three diesels. The turbocharged 1.4-litre petrol is smooth and flexible, with just enough strength to lug the family around. However, the diesels will be more popular because of their much better fuel economy and stronger low-down pull; we'd go the mid-powered 138bhp 2.0 TDI.
    Whichever engine you choose, the Alhambra is smooth and hushed; it's one of the most refined MPVs on the market, in fact.

  • What's it like inside?

    The high-up driving position makes you feel a bit like a minibus driver but makes it easy to see out, which is particularly handy when parking such a big car.
    The Alhambra has genuine space for seven adults and you'll find it surprisingly easy to get kids in and out of in tight parking spaces thanks to its sliding rear doors; these come into their own when loading small children on a busy road. The five rear seats can all be folded flat when you need to transport really big loads, but the boot is still huge in five-seat mode, and there's even enough space for a decent amount of luggage when all the seats are upright. Our only real criticism is that the rearmost seats are a bit of a fuss to fold flat.
    The Alhambra is available in S, SE and SE Lux versions. Even the cheapest trim (S) includes alloy wheels, three-zone climate control, Bluetooth and front and rear parking sensors, while the top-spec SE Lux cars have electrically powered side doors.

  • How reliable is it?

    The previous version of the Alhambra had a below-par reliability record, but it's too soon to say how much things have improved with the latest model.
    Seven airbags and stability control are on hand to keep you and your cargo safe, and helped the Alhambra achieve the full five stars in Euro NCAP crash tests. The adult safety score was an incredible 96%; however, the child occupancy safety rating was only 80%. The VW Sharan achieved identical scores.

  • Should I buy one?

    If you need a car of this size, the Alhambra is as good as it gets: it's cheaper than the virtually identical VW Sharan and is more practical than a Ford S-Max. Running costs shouldn't be too eye-watering, either, thanks to reasonably efficient engines.